Clarkson can hit top gear in Vaal race
The nicely priced runner should finish in the top four
Clarkson — possibly named after motoring guru Jeremy Clarkson — looks worth an each-way punt at the Vaal on Tuesday with better weather predicted for the highveld.
Officials made the right decision to postpone Saturday’s Empress Club meeting as the rain arrived as forecast. The grade 1 race will now take place on April 23.
Yorkshire-born Clarkson became a household name in the UK due to the popularity of his motor show, Top Gear. Unfortunately, there was a falling out between him and the BBC and the show was canned.
The racehorse Clarkson, who runs in the eighth race at the Vaal, appeals as a good each-way bet at his early odds of 7-1. Punters can get even money for a place and it is hard to imagine Gavin Lerena’s mount finishing out of the first four.
Last time out Clarkson raced over 2,600m and was beaten more than a length by Rule Book. The gelding may appreciate reverting to Tuesday’s shorter trip.
Gavin van Zyl has done well with his team based at Randjesfontein and his runner, Secret Giver, should prove a tough opponent. The four-year-old won at the Vaal last month and — especially after being drawn in pole position — should take a hand in the finish.
In contrast, Paul Peter’s runner Pottinger has a bad draw. Warren Kennedy will do his best to overcome this disadvantage but it is definitely a negative for the three-year-old.
Van Zyl will be expecting to recoup recent losses when his filly, Aga Heat, runs in the first race. The daughter of What A Winter was sent off an odds-on favourite last time out but was beaten by Risky Business.
Richard Fourie is becoming a regular at highveld meetings and his best mount should be Willow’s Wish, who has been priced up favourite for the sixth race. The son of Willow Magic was gelded after running in early December and Fourie was in the saddle for the four-year-old’s comeback run last month when third behind Val D’Orcia. He should strip a fitter horse this time.
Peter sends out two runners, Ocean Warrior and Blue Moon City, and it is surely significant that Warren Kennedy has opted for the former.
Another Peter runner, City By The Sea, also with the worst of the draw, is quoted favourite for the fourth race, but preference is for Brett Crawford’s four-time winner Irish Tractor. The gelding runs well for Kabelo Matsunyane and has the advantage of a favourable draw.
A possible Pick Six banker for punters is Peter’s runner Flying Bull, who trounced his opposition by eight lengths on his most recent appearance. The handicapper predictably hit the gelding with an eight-point penalty for that facile win, but he could still prove too smart for recent Vaal winner Afraad.
Maine Chance Farms will be hoping filly Insatiable can win the third race of her career when she lines up for the third race over 1,000m. The stud will be offering her half-brother (an early foal by Lancaster Bomber) at next week’s National Yearling Sales.
1st Race: (2) Aga Heat (1) Divine Dynasty (3) Azucar (6) Smelting
2nd Race: (1) Lemme Go (5) Orgetorix (12) Ashanti’s Sword (3) Magic Dancer
3rd Race: (2) Insatiable (1) Grindelwald (4) Rising Fenix (11) Looking Hot
4th Race: (4) Irish Tractor (7) City By The Sea (8) Nordic Rebel (5) Theory Of Flight
5th Race: (1) Flying Bull (3) Afraad (5) Apollo Robbins (2) Paybackthemoney
6th Race: (2) Willow’s Wish (4) Ocean Warrior (3) Fight Song (5) Juan Carlos
7th Race: (1) Astrocyte (7) Toto Dream (6) Dark Travel (2) Bally Magic
8th Race: (5) Clarkson (9) Secret Giver (7) Pottinger (8) Arlington Action
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